What do you see as the key factors for recovery in the travel agency business after the pandemic?
It will still take us several months for travel agents to get turnover back to previous levels. We haven’t got a product to sell yet, as there is still a scant supply of flights and transport, although business is starting to pick up within Spain. For us, it’s not enough because we’ve lost the season, and there’s not enough time to get outbound tourism, business travel and MICE back to previous levels. They’re an especially important part of our businesses’ production.
The confederation is calling for a Plan Renove (replacement plan) to help restart the tourism industry. What would it consist of?
The Spanish people are in a fragile economic situation, and because of the restrictions and limitations that tourist establishments will have to put in place, prices will have to go up, and people won’t be able to afford to travel. So, we believe that if measures are implemented to encourage travel, as other European Union countries have done, the tourism industry could benefit. And that investment would be more than repaid by tourist spending, job creation, taxes, and other essential aspects of our country’s economy.
You’ve proposed opening up the IMSERSO Pensioners Holiday Programme to people of all ages, and a family holiday voucher. How was your proposal received?
These are a series of ideas that we have proposed to the government to apply unused budget items to restart the tourism industry. Unfortunately, they fell on deaf ears and haven’t been implemented for now.
What kind of tourism collaboration between regions could boost tourism?
Now that people can travel between regions again, it’s time for a communication and promotion campaign for destinations, to encourage customers to think about travelling again, and to do so as soon as possible. CEAV has 20 member associations in different regions, and they’re working together and with their local councils to restart passenger traffic as quickly as possible.
What other tourist communications and promotion actions are needed for Spain?
A good campaign in Spain and abroad to encourage people to book trips through the extensive network of agencies in Spain would be hugely beneficial. It would contribute to restarting tourism, the business structure and employment in our sector.